Over these last few weeks we have been discussing methods and tricks for identifying genuine Rolex wristwatches over fake and/or franken-Rolex.  Below are some other areas to check in addition to the methods we reviewed earlier.

For Rolex experts whom handle Rolex watches every day, they can tell whether it’s a fake by its weight.  Bad fake Rolex watches are lighter than genuine Rolex wristwatches because of the inexpensive/fake movement used or a base metal or low grade stainless steel used in the watch case.  Weight is a tougher indicator for authenticity because not everyone has access to actual Rolex model weights, as well as a suspect watch might be a franken Rolex utilizing genuine Rolex 904L stainless, platinum or gold case but with a non-genuine movement.

Rolex casebacks are typically very plain with no engraving or marking of any type. Rolex Milgauss, DeepSea, and SeaDwellers have engraving around the edge of the caseback, but not on the caseback itself. Look for a completely blank caseback with no logos or Rolex inscriptions.

Modern Rolex dials are made in-house at Rolex and are very meticulous filled with detail that a trained eye can easily identify. Genuine Rolex dials utilize hour markers made of 18ct white gold, even on the stainless steel models. The hour markers are glued onto the watch dial. Additionally, anything painted onto the dial (eg. model, Rolex crown, certified chronometer, etc) are painted with very crisp edges with no overspray using notably thick paint that sticks up out of the dial. Look at the dial with a jeweler’s loupe, and the crisp letter edges are typically a tell tale sign because Rolex dials with this consistency, with no overspray, and consistent weight lettering are hard to manufacturer, except for Rolex. Notice in the images below that Rolex lettering is even, consistent, and raised from the dial.


Other aspects of the dial such as color, use of diamonds, Roman numerals, and other details can be verified using a Rolex catalog.  Fortunately, Rolex confines dials to respective Rolex watches.  DateJust dials can only be installed on DateJusts, Submariner dials on Submariners and such. Many times, dials are matched to a particular case material.  For example, only gold Rolex Daytona’s have red second or register hands or a sky blue Rolex dials are found on Platinum Rolex Presidents.


Rolex Hands


Rolex designs the dials and hands at the same time, creating very precise symmetry among the dial, hour markers, and hands.  Although this symmetry can be copied, bad fake Rolex watches do not possess this symmetry as the hands and watch faces are designed separately. Some examples of dial and hand symmetry are below:



Notice that on this Explorer II 24-hour hand that the tip of the hand barely brushes the minute marker.  A hand shorter or longer raises an authenticity flag.



The 12 hour Mercedes hand found on Rolex sport models should have the counter weight dot of the sweep second hand fall right at the intersection of the Mercedes spokes inside the hand.  Also notice how the 12-hour Mercedes precisely misses the 3:00 o’clock hour marker.


The lume filled dot on the second hand is placed where it precisely misses the 3:00, 6:00 and 12:00 o’clock hour markers, as well as perfectly bisecting the 24 hour hand marker.

If you ever have questions about the authenticity of your Rolex, bring it by Fourtané and our experts can assist in authenticating it. Of course, if you are looking to purchase a pre-owned Rolex, work with Fourtané vintage Rolex sales that is one of the most preeminent vintage Rolex dealers in the United States.

– Sheldon Smith